Thanks to Sender Films for making such a cool profile for Outside television. It was a joy to work with all of you despite the fact that you made me hang- upside-down on an offwidth roof 200’ off the deck waiting for the cloud cover and snuck up on me at 7am in the morning while wearing tiny shorts.
About the Training Footage
People have asked me about the weight-vest I am wearing in the training segment. It’s the HyperVest PRO from Hyperwear. I am 105lbs and train with a 20lb weight vest for offwidth climbing. I do all my strength training and metabolic training including Plyometrics wearing the weight vest to simulate the rack I carry on wide cracks which can often be nearly 20lbs. I have tried a few vests but the HyperVest Pro has a better fit and keeps the weight more evenly distributed throughout my core rather than on my shoulders. Not only is it more comfortable and less bulky than other vests it even looks pretty damn stylish.
I am also using the TRX Suspension Trainer in the video which is very effective for core and shoulder stabilization in climbers. There is no footage in the video but I also spend 4-5 days a week doing Pilates. The Pilates Cadillac is fantastic for training for the super casual, contorted foot-over-your-head positions required for the inverted style of offwidth climbing such as on The Event Horizon (5.13) which is also featured in the video. Fortunately, the video does not capture me falling out backwards and upside-down while clipping — with my knee stuck in the crack and wacking my head.
The Dark Passenger 5.12
”…it’s there always, this Dark Passenger. And when he’s driving, I feel alive…” ~Dexter
The wild vertical offwidth footage was taken on The Dark Passenger (5.12 FA) which Pat Kinsbury and I established this last fall in Long’s Canyon just outside of Moab, UT. The Dark Passenger is the epitome of blue-collar American wide crack climbing. It will crush your ego and steal your soul.
I first noticed the stunning line while on a pilgrimage to repeat the late Craig Luebben’s (1960-2009) top ten desert offwidths as a tribute to him as it was the analog crack to his visionary Dragon’s Lair 5.11. I imagined that Craig might have walked up to the Dragon’s Lair beckoned by this intimidating, wildly twisting 500’ analog crack replete with a 200’ of unprotected squeeze chimney that dominates Dead Man’s Buttress in Long’s Canyon. It would be my final tribute to Craig.
We spent two weeks cleaning the route wearing safety goggles and dust masks. I even modified my windshield scraper to reach into the crack to scrub it. We trundled a few tons of rock including a 16′ pillar after putting a bolt ladder around it. The climbing itself is painful and creative with the highlight for me being 20’ of a razor sharp, unprotectable, 8″ offset, inwardly flaring 6″ crack and another 30′ of the “squiggles” — a wildly twisting helix that requires horizontal hand-fist stacks. I described the route to Kennan Harvey, a frequent partner of Craig’s, who responded: “Number 11 route sounds like a melding of all the wiggling. Craig would be dancing.”
Read more about my pilgrimage to repeat Craig Luebben’s routes in Climbing Magazine: Craig’s List.
I finally deemed the ominous route The Dark Passenger – a concept used in the TV drama Dexter to represent the demon in each person’s soul that can either control them or be controlled. Repeat the route and decide for yourself who is in the driver’s seat.